Iceland produced a defensive masterclass to share the spoils against Argentina in their Group D clash at the Spartak stadium in Russia on Saturday. Argentine captain Lionel Messi missed a penalty in the 62nd penalty which could have won the match for his team. Iceland defended in large numbers to thwart all Argentinian attacks. Messi had ten attempts at the Iceland goal but nothing troubled their goal keeper much. Hannes Halldorsson put in an impressive performance at the goal and helped Iceland grab a vital point. (Highlights: Argentina vs Iceland)
Earlier in the first half, Argentina had the majority of ball in the first half as Iceland did their defensive duties well. Argentina took the lead courtesy a thunderous strike by Sergio Aguero in the 19th minute. It only took four minutes for Iceland to equalise. Number 11 Alfred Finnbogason made the most of some chaotic defending by Argentina and scored the goal in the 23rd minute. Lionel Messi and Meza got close for Argentina but Iceland kept them under check. Iceland were happy to give Argentina the ball possession in the first half given they didn't concede. Argentina play Croatia on June 21 while Iceland take on Nigeria the next day on June 22.
Highlights of 2018 FIFA World Cup, Argentina vs Iceland, straight from Spartak Stadium
20:25 IST: And its over. Argentina 1-1 Iceland. Superb defensive display by Iceland have earned them a vital point. Argentina lacked that killer touch and hence failed to get that winning goal.
20:23 IST: Argentina's number 10 Messi's tenth attempt on the goal. Can Messi win it for Argentina. That was the last kick and Iceland have held Argentina.
20:21 IST: Messi has had 9 attempts on goal but no goal. He even missed a penalty.
20:19 IST: Ninety minutes up. 5 added minutes. Diego Maradona is on the stands and he appears animated seeing Argentina fluff their lines.
20:17 IST: Substitution! Iceland goal scorer Finnbogason departs amid a thunderous applause by the crowd.
20:16 IST: WHAT A SAVE! Fantastic save by the Iceland keeper Halldorsson. Argentina's number 22 Pavon struck it well.
20:14 IST: Kudos to this Iceland team for keeping out this Argentina team. Their defending has been top notch. Final 4 minutes to go.
20:11 IST: Just wide for Messi. It is simply not his day today. Argentina have more than 75 per cent of the ball throughout the first 80 minutes | Argentina 1-1 Iceland after 82 minutes
20:10 IST: Final ten minutes to go. Argentina are trying to hard. Credit to Iceland defenders for keeping Argentina at bay.
20:00 IST: Iceland are pegged back onto their own half by Argentina. Messi's missed penalty have spurred the Argentinians. However, they are struggling to stitch passes and trouble the opposition.
| Argentina 1-1 Iceland after 73 minutes
19:55 IST: Free kick. Messi steps up but it is way too above the keeper to trouble the Iceland team.
19:52 IST: PENALTY and its missed. Argentina's Messi brought down in the 62nd minute. Clear contact on Aguero by Magnusson. Messi misses. He is denied from the spot by Halldorsson.
19:48 IST: Ever Banega tries his luck from distance but is blocked by the Iceland defender.
19:45 IST: Argentina make their first substitution. Ever Banega replaces Lucas Biglia | Argentina 1-1 Iceland after 54 minutes
19:40 IST: Argentina players are finding it difficult to breach the Iceland defence
19:37 IST: Argentina defender Otamendi parries it over the Iceland goal. No changes in both the line ups | Argentina 1-1 Iceland after 48 minutes
19:35 IST: Second half begins.
19:17 IST: FIRST HALF Ends! Argentina 1-1 Iceland
The first 25 minutes were pure entertainment for neutral fans as both teams kept on attacking each other. After Iceland's equalising goal, Argentina had the major possession but the former kept their defensive line intact. Iceland had their chances in the final minutes of the first half but Argentina defenders kept them at bay.
19:14 IST: Forty five minutes up. One additional minute. Iceland turned it on in the closing minutes of the first half.
19:10 IST: Argentina have the ball but Iceland are defending well in numbers.
19:08 IST: Iceland's number 11 Finnbogason is making life uncomfortable for Argentina's Otamendi. Till now Argentina have 77 per cent possession while Iceland have 23 per cent. A prolonged spell of Argentinian possession is seen at the moment. Argentina 1-1 Iceland after 37 minutes
19:05 IST: Argentine's Biglia tries his luck but its over the crossbar.
19:01 IST: This match has opened up after the Iceland equaliser.
18:55 IST: GOAL! Alfred Finnbogason gets Iceland on level terms. Sigurdsson kept it alive in the six-yard box and Finnbogason coolly finished it. Superb finishing by him |
Argentina 1-1 Iceland after 23 minutes
18:52 IST: After that goal, Argentina are swarming all over Iceland at the moment. They have the momentum now.
18:51 IST: GOAL! What a shot. Tidy touch. One touch and Aguero pummels the ball at the back of the net. What a way to open the scoring. Unstoppable. This is Ageuro's first FIFA World Cup goal | Argentina 1-0 Iceland after 19 minutes
18:49 IST: CHANCE for Argentina! Messi curls it and Iceland goal keeper Halldorsson pounds it out towards safety in the 17th minute. A powerful shot by the Argentine captain.
18:48 IST: Some fiesty play between the two teams. Di Maria and Messi linking up well but the final third is evading them | Argentina 0-0 Iceland after 16 minutes
18:44 IST: A good opening 15 minutes for Argentina and Iceland. Both teams had their fair share of chances.
18:40 IST: Error by the Argentine keeper and Bjarnason spurned his chance to give Iceland the lead | Argentina 0-0 Iceland after 8 minutes
18:38 IST: Just wide. Messi hits a shot and it gets blocked. On the other end of the pitch, Iceland break away and Finnbogason misses it.
18:32 IST: Argentina get their first free kick. Lionel Messi steps up to take it. Messi whips it in, couple of deflections but Iceland keeper can heave a sigh of relief. | Argentina 0-0 Iceland after 5 minutes
18:30 IST: Kick off
18:25 IST: The players have assembled in the tunnel area and they look prepared for the big clash. The national anthems being played now.
18:19 IST: We are now moments away from the kick off.
18:12 IST: Angel Di Maria, Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero will lead Argentina's attack against Iceland. Now that's a deadly trio.
18:01 IST: Both Argentina, Iceland look to begin their tournament with a victory.
17:41 IST: The first match of the day saw France beat Australia 2-1 in their Group C encounter.
17:40 IST: Hello and welcome to the live match updates of the match between Argentina and Iceland.
"Iceland showed they could compete with anyone at the last Euros," said Messi, referring to their giant-killing run at the 2016 European Championship in France. Messi was devastated by Argentina's loss to Germany in the 2014 World Cup final, with the agony compounded by back-to-back Copa America defeats to Chile in 2015 and 2016.Despite his achievements with Barcelona, the five-time world player of the year is yet to win a major international tournament and time is running out as his 31st birthday looms.
Argentina only made it to the finals courtesy of a Messi hat-trick in their final qualifier against Ecuador.
Subsequent friendlies have given cause for concern -- there was a 4-2 loss to Nigeria in November and a 6-1 humiliation by Spain in March, although Messi did not play in either match.
Argentina's final warm-up against Israel in Jerusalem was cancelled after protests from Palestinians, miring the team in controversy and leaving players short of match practice.
To further compound their problems, goalkeeper Sergio Romero and midfielder Manuel Lanzini both fell victim to late injuries.
Accusing Argentina of over-reliance on Messi may seem unfair to a team boasting the sharp attacking talents of Sergio Aguero, Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain but it is a view coach Jorge Sampaoli himself has expressed.